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Crime and punishment

Friday, Jan 25, 2013

* Lawyers for three people facing terrorism charges want the state’s law kicked because it is too vague

Brent Betterly, 24, Jared Chase, 28, and Brian Church, 21, were each charged in 11-count indictments with conspiracy to commit terrorism, possession of explosives and attempted arson after a raid at the Bridgeport apartment where they were staying in the weeks leading up to the May 2012 summit. […]

According to the filing, the terrorism statute – which had previously been used in only one Illinois prosecution since being enacted a decade ago after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – defines terrorism as “intent to intimidate or coerce a significant portion of a civilian population.”

“The vague nature of the terms ‘coerce,’ ‘intimidate,’ and ‘significant portion of the civilian population’ allows for the arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement of the law,” the filing said.

Michael Deutsch, a lawyer for the People’s Law Office who represents Church, said after today’s brief hearing that the statute also allows police and prosecutors to “arbitrarily pick and choose” whom to charge with terrorism offenses.

“On its face, (the law) could criminalize as terrorism First Amendment conduct, like protests, labor strikes, boycotts – they are all intended in some way to intimidate or coerce,” Deutsch said.

* Naperville opponents of the “smart grid” have lost battle after battle, mainly because their considerable fears appear to be unfounded. But arresting one of them for “attempting to eavesdrop” on the police is a bit much, particularly since the state law was struck down as unconstitutional, albeit in a very limited way

Two vocal opponents of Naperville’s initiative to install wireless electric meters on homes were arrested after interfering with the installation process, according to city officials.

Police are accompanying crews this week as they install smart meters at homes that previously sent away installers.

“The previous installation attempts were met with some resistance and we wanted to ensure our employees’ safety,” City Manager Doug Krieger said.

Naperville has installed smart meters on 57,000 homes and is about 99 percent through with the process. Officials have said the project will make the electric system more reliable and efficient and reduce costs.

However, the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group has expressed concerns over whether the wireless meters will affect health, security and privacy. The group has a federal lawsuit pending against the city.

Residents have the ability to opt out of the wireless smart meters for a fee. The people in question apparently refused to agree to that alternative, so the town sent installers out with a police escort. People need to calm down on both sides.

* The viral video

* Meanwhile

State lawmakers would be required to take drug tests under legislation proposed by State Representative Bill Mitchell.

The Forsyth Republican introduced a bill requiring welfare recipients to take drug tests. The twist is it also requires candidates for the Illinois legislature to pass a drug test when filing paperwork to run for office. […]

Mitchell admits the measure faces an uphill battle. While popular with downstate lawmakers the bill would likely not make it out of committee due to opposition from Chicago area lawmakers.

Yes, because Downstaters are so pure and Chicagoans are such druggies.

Sheesh.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


18 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    –But arresting one of them for “attempting to eavesdrop” on the police is a bit much,–

    You can be arrested for observing and listening in on something that’s taking place on your property?

    In Naperville?


  2. - IrishPirate - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 1:54 pm:

    Chicago artist and raconteur Tony Fitzpatrick had some good commentary about the three terrorists better known as “the bong triplets”.

    http://newcity.com/2012/05/23/dime-stories-the-monday-king/

    http://newcity.com/2012/08/08/dime-stories-the-atomic-child/

    If these geniuses and mopes are terrorists then Rod Blago was a criminal genius.


  3. - OneMan - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:09 pm:

    Naperville wants to charge a $24.75 monthly fee for reading the meter if you don’t go wireless…

    Seems very excessive to me.

    Don’t get the reason the folks don’t want the wireless meter, but charging $24.75 to have someone read it seems almost punitive.


  4. - dan linn - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:10 pm:

    Florida’s law drug testing welfare applicants ended up costing the state more than any potential savings, “The state’s net loss? $45,780.”

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/20/2758871/floridas-welfare-drug-tests-cost.html


  5. - MrJM - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:31 pm:

    People need to calm down on both sides.

    Have you made a macro for that phrase yet, Rich?

    I think you’re gonna need one.

    – MrJM


  6. - Sgtstu - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:32 pm:

    “Yes, because Downstaters are so pure and Chicagoans are such druggies.”

    It is what it is, if one has nothing to hide then why would they object ? It is good enough for every State worker. Are they above the rest of the work force in this State ?


  7. - dupage dan - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    I wonder how much it costs to maintain an employee to manually record the electric meter when the city is nearly 100% linked thru the smart grid unit? 25 bucks may seem alot but there are consequences to this when you have remove the “mass production” part of the equation.


  8. - Downstater - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    Those women were being a bit dramatic. I want scientific reasoning and proof as to how and why a wireless meter is going to affect her daughter’s health? She’s a single mother with no job and no health care insurance? Pretty nice house in a nice neighborhood though.


  9. - grand old partisan - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    Rich, are you suggesting that Mitchell’s assessment is wrong that that his proposal to require drug tests for state aid recipients & electoral candidates is unpopular downstate and/or likely to be supported by Chicago lawmakers?


  10. - dupage dan - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    Sgtstu, every state worker? I am a state worker and I didn’t know I was being drug tested. Or maybe I just thought I was being “probed” by aliens in my sleep.


  11. - so... - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:42 pm:

    Zero sympathy for the anti-smart meter folks. They don’t deserve special treatment because they chose to believe junk science.

    Drop the eavesdropping charges, but keep the rest.


  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:47 pm:

    ===if one has nothing to hide then why would they object ? ===

    Um, you ever heard of the Constitution? I thought you were one of those liberty guys?


  13. - Give Me A Break - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    Why single out just those on welfare? If you receive any type tax payer funds, drug test em. Including, students getting financial aid, vets getting benefits, state workers and kids in childcare. Bet that would go over well.


  14. - walkinfool - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 3:21 pm:

    A favorite of the right is to attack anyone on public aid. In Florida, the rate of drug use among welfare recipients has been shown to be significantly lower than among the rest of the population.

    But what value facts, when a political message is to be made?


  15. - Sportshz - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    Actually the opt-out is still a “smart meter” just one with the wireless turned-off, besides as noted below Naperville will still have meter readers going out to homes for water meter reading.

    “For a residential customer that elects this option, the one-time cost (meter cost difference) is $68.35, and the monthly cost (manual read of meter) is $24.75 (in order to read the non-wireless smart meters manually, new equipment and specialized training is required. Therefore, there is an incremental cost for this service. Again, no customers will be keeping their existing analog meter).”

    “Important Note: While your electric meter will now be read remotely, City of Naperville meter readers will still need to come on your property for monthly water meter readings. The NSGI only affects your electric meter reading.”


  16. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 3:25 pm:

    –State lawmakers would be required to take drug tests under legislation proposed by State Representative Bill Mitchell.–

    I’m all for it, if Rep. Mitchell is required to administer the tests.

    Another small government, don’t-tread-on-me patriot at work.


  17. - Sportshz - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 3:26 pm:

    Groups like the one in Naperville are all over the country and forcing many utilities to allow better opt-out options. ComEd and Ameren are naive to believe this isn’t going to happen when they start rolling out their “smart meters.”


  18. - redrum - Saturday, Jan 26, 13 @ 2:34 pm:

    If crazies get to opt-put of the smart grid, do the energy companies get to opt-out on providing service?


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